The Kandhamal anti-Christian violence claimed more than 90 lives and wounded hundreds of people.
Bhubaneswar: The Church in Odishahas decided to celebrate August 30 every year as "Martyrs' Day" to commemorate the victims of Kandhamalanti-Christian violencein 2007 and 2008.
"We are delighted with this decision, adopted to honor and respect the sacrifice of more than 101 people who lost their lives during the anti-Christian massacres in 2007 and 2008: most of the victims come from the district of Kandhamal," saidArchbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, the president of the Regional Conference of Bishops of Orissa.
The Regional Conference chose the date, which follows the martyrdom day of St. John, the Baptist. It has officially asked the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) to make August 30 a "National Day" to commemorate the martyrs of Orissa.
"We are awaiting the decision of the CBCI, but we are confident", said ArchbishopBarwa.
The prelate had given a speech during the recent plenary assembly of Indian bishops held in Bangalore, and highlighted the need for support of the bishops on this initiative. "After my presentation on the story of the martyrs of Orissa, many Bishops were eager to learn more," he said.
The Bishops of Orissa has already appointed a special team of priests and researchers to document the incidents that caused the deaths of 101 Christians in Kandhamal; the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar plans to start the diocesan process to declare their martyrdom, by appointing a "postulator" for the cause.
The local Catholic community in Orissa has welcomed the Bishops’ decision to celebrate the Day of the martyrs on August 30 with joy.
Source: Agenzia Fides